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Avocado and Strawberry Salad with Homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette

La Petite Maison Verte: Avocado and Strawberry Salad with Homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Avocado and Strawberry Salad with Homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette

My favorite lunch is a big green salad, especially when it's topped with all kinds of flavorful extras.

One thing I learned when I started listening to my body is: I cannot eat too many carbs at lunchtime.  It makes me sleepy and then I need a cup of coffee to get me through the rest of the day.  Relying on caffeine so you don't pass out at work = no bueno.

Plenty of lunchtime pizza parties at work and office potlucks have taught me which are the best foods for me to eat in the middle of the day and which I need to avoid (pizza is the worst...sends me straight into a coma).  Salads are the perfect lunch for my body:  light yet filling, they boost my energy level instead of draining it.

Everyone has a balsamic vinaigrette recipe.  I had one too, but this one is better so I urge you to give it a try:  it's now my go-to vinaigrette.  It's simple, so thick and flavorful so it coats every bite, and doesn't require any fancy ingredients.  Store it in the fridge in a clean old jam jar.

Avocado and Strawberry Salad with Bacon and Spring Onions
serves 2

4 (or more) cups of Organic leafy greens - lettuce, spring mix, spinach, etc.
1 cucumber, thinly sliced
1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 spring onion, thinly sliced
1/2 ripe avocado, diced
4-6 strawberries, sliced
1 slices cooked bacon (I bake mine in the oven at 375 for 12-15 minutes, until super-crispy), crumbled
1 oz white cheddar cheese, shredded

Homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette (recipe follows)

Toss together the first 6 ingredients in a large bowl.  Top with the crumbled bacon and cheddar cheese.  Serve drizzled with the balsamic vinaigrette.

Balsamic Vinaigrette
recipe adapted from Chinese Grandma

2 tablespoons local honey
1 tablespoon mustard (dijon, spicy brown or whole grain would work.  Just not yellow.)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 garlic clove, microplaned or finely grated
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (I recommend you use a good brand, one with a nice, fruity flavor)

In a mixing bowl, stir together the honey, mustard, salt, pepper and garlic using a fork.  Stir in the balsamic vinaigrette to incorporate.  Gradually add the olive oil, whisking with the fork as you go to fully emulsify the vinaigrette.  Pour into a clean, dry glass jar with a tight-fitting lid (a re-purposed jam jar works great) and store in the refrigerator.  Make sure to shake/mix before serving each time, as the oil will separate as it sits.

Question of the Day

What's your favorite thing to eat for lunch?  Do you rely on an afternoon coffee to get you through the afternoon?  

This salad pretty much does it for me :-)  I used to need coffee around 3 pm but now that I know what foods to choose and which to avoid at lunch, I can make it to the end of the day without the caffeine.  That doesn't mean I don't need something sweet after lunch though....


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At February 12, 2012 at 8:20 AM , Anonymous jesseking said...

I don't get it. How do I add balsamic vinaigrette to a recipe for balsamic vinaigrette? I'm new to cooking so I'm sure I'm missing something. This looks soooo good :)

At February 12, 2012 at 11:09 AM , Anonymous Jules said...

Oops! Sorry about the confusion Jesse, I will correct the recipe to say 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar (not vinaigrette). Thanks for pointing that out ;-).

At February 15, 2012 at 12:21 PM , Anonymous HeidiRob said...

Your photography seems like it has improved so much in the last few weeks! It was always good, but now it is cookbook-good (actually, much better than the photography in my crock-pot cook book)! Love the placemats also <3

At February 15, 2012 at 1:25 PM , Anonymous Jules said...

Thank you, Heidi!


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